Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Bombe

My future mother-in-law loves chocolate. Not chocolate with lots of other flavors. She loves just the pure, unabashed, real thing. And so we decided to make her the dessert with which I won the heart of my fiance. The dish my mother always made for true chocolate lovers. Julia Child's stunning Bombe aux Trois Chocolat.

It is a molded dessert, and contains chocolate three ways. First is what Julia calls a cake, I think it's more like a fudgy brownie. The layer creates the shape and structure of the dish, encasing a chocolate mousse. The whole thing is refrigerated and then un-molded and drizzled with a combination of bitter and semi-sweet chocolate. The result is just fantastic.

The perfect bite includes bits of all three layers: the hardness of the pure melted chocolate, the fudginess of the cake, and the smoothness of mousse. Just the difference in textures tantalize the palate, not to mention the contrast between the density of the cake and airiness of the mousse. For chocolate lovers, this really is the ultimate in the chocolate experiences.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Birthday Breakfast

It was a special birthday in our house (my fiance's) and so we did many special things together to celebrate. Including his favorite breakfast, which I made for him: blueberry pancakes.

We always use my dad's pancake recipe at home. The recipe uses whole wheat flour and buttermilk, and I've never had a better pancake. I put a little twist by adding locally, stone-ground cornmeal. The buttermilk came from the creamery at the bottom of our mountain, the eggs were local too, and the blueberries were picked by us and frozen for a later use. The resulting golden pancakes perfectly crisp with a warm soft interior were the perfect balance of savory and sweet. And a delicious beginning to a special day.

P.S. It was a delicious food day in general. I also made him Pichet Ong's Chocolate Oatmeal Cupcakes with Maple Bacon Frosting. And we're both speechless. Try them, the recipe is from the New York Times.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Re-Defining Popcorn and a Movie

Lately I've taken to popcorn. At first the movie King Corn and Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma kept me from corn consumption. But corn kernels are different from corn syrup and corn feed for livestock, or at least that's how I justified the indulgence.

But now we eat it multiple times a week. Each time we play with it. The thing about popped corn kernels is that they don't have a strong flavor and so you can put almost anything on it and it tastes delicious. We've tried so many combinations, and they've all been good.

When we're tired and cranky, and want something sweet, we go back to the classics. Peanut Butter and Jelly. We used raspberry jelly which provides the perfect tartness in contrast with the creaminess of the peanut butter. Sprinkled with a little bit of salt it is the perfect mix of sweet and salty, and even better with a good movie.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Search for a Good Bagel

Down here in the mountainous south there don't seem to be any bagel shops. And frankly Thomas may know how to make english muffins, but he sure doesn't know how to make a good bagel. So, we took matters into our own hands, and made them.

There was my stint in Costa Rica when I was making bagels every week, but sadly that was years ago now. But I pulled out the old recipe (which had no instructions just ratios, since I used to have it memorized) dusted out the cob webs, and I think these might be the best bagels yet. We made cinnamon raisin, and substituted maple syrup and barrel molasses for the honey in the recipe. The bagels had just the right amount of sweetness, and an added depth of flavor that complemented the raisins and cinnamon well.

Toasted, with some marscapone cheese, they were the perfect start to a fall morning.